un·​der·​world | \ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Definition of underworld 

1 : the place of departed souls : hades

2 archaic : earth

3 : the side of the earth opposite to one : antipodes

4 : a social sphere below the level of ordinary life the town's seedy underworld especially : the world of organized crime

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Examples of underworld in a Sentence

a magazine article taking an insightful look at the underworld inhabited by street people

Recent Examples on the Web

Structured in three acts, the program begins with a flurry of vivid love songs by Monteverdi and Caccini, followed by the protagonist’s descent into the underworld and a muted return aboveground. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "CD review: ‘Songs of Orpheus’," 12 Apr. 2018 In an underworld casino where Lando is holding court, onlookers cheer a BattleBots-type spectacle in which droids fight each other. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Soul of Solo Is a Droid," 27 May 2018 Hackers from the criminal underworld are equally handy, a shadow force that can carry out an assignment without leaving the state’s fingerprints. The Economist, "Inside Vladimir Putin’s “mafia state”," 17 May 2018 The answers were hidden deep inside a dark, and often violent underworld that we thankfully have never had access to. BostonGlobe.com, "Read the DiSarro family’s statement," 19 June 2018 This episode committedly riffed on that idea as the Ghost Nation fashioned stories about the underworld, its denizens, and the promised land beyond their own. The Atlantic, "Westworld: Ghost Nation, Revealed," 10 June 2018 Their idyll is interrupted when a feral and mysterious 14-year-old girl shoots their cattle dead, sending Wyatt Smith into Utah's hyper-violent crime underworld to find her. refinery29.com, "How Rae DelBianco Went From Cattle Farmer To Bookstagram Queen To Literary Darling — All By 25," 13 July 2018 The incident came after an associate of the family was shot last August in a hit that police suspect was organized by an underworld figure now serving time in prison. Lucie Morris-marr, CNN, "Melbourne grenade attack signals gang trouble in 'world's best city'," 22 May 2018 In a time of moral panic, some saw pinball as a gateway drug that would inevitably lure kids into a seedy criminal underworld. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "The First Family of pinball: Meet the local wizards behind the game's huge resurgence," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underworld.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of underworld

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for underworld

The first known use of underworld was in 1598

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More Definitions for underworld



English Language Learners Definition of underworld

: the world of crime and criminals

the underworld : the place where dead people go in Greek myths


un·​der·​world | \ˈən-dər-ˌwərld \

Kids Definition of underworld

: the world of crime

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full of whispering sounds

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